May 8, 2010

Tyrannis: Ascension

Five Years Ago...

Victor sat on the living room floor in front of the holovid player. As he did every evening since he had turned 8 several years before, he watched the Interstellar News with rapt attention. The special report had him mesmerized, as a Concord representative detailed the new regulations concerning capsuleer engagement on worlds across New Eden.

"Grandpa, what does this mean?" he asked.

His Grandfather rested his hand gently on Victor's head and looked over from his chair. Victor looked back at his Grandfather. His wide, bright blue eyes darted back and forth between his Grandfather's eyes, not missing the scars on his Grandfather's left cheek.

"Son, everything is going to change".

His Grandfather's stories of combat from forgotten wars were never far from his mind. His own father had died during the recent Gallenti/Caldari Empyrean War. Living with his grandfather and mother was trying at times; his mother was never home, the two jobs she held were barely enough to keep food on the table and pay for the rent that kept creeping upwards. Victor attended school at a run down building a few kilometers away, his free time spent reading anything he could get his hands on. It was never enough, and he craved more.

Victor would become entranced when reading about ships, battles, anything that involved the Immortal Capsuleers. He kept his thoughts to himself; his father had had the same visions of immortality when he joined the Caldari Navy. Those ended suddenly when the Drake Class vessel he was on went down with all hands (minus the Capsuleer of course) near Luminaire. Any talk of Capsuleers upset his mother greatly; his Grandfather had already made his position on interstellar conflict clear with frequent smacks to Victor's head.

Victor looked back at the holovid while images of stellar battles danced in his imagination. His bright mind was already planning his future, which would get him off the backwater planet he currently called home

Three Years Ago

The past two years had gone by so quickly for Victor. It wasn't long after that night in his living room that the Immortals came to his planet. His Grandfather had been right, everything changed for Victor the evening the sky thundered and the ground shook. A deep core mining facility set up near his small town. Every day a transport would come and take the minerals to the headquarters on the other side of the continent. Young Victor would sit on a hillside and watch as the transport came and went like clockwork. His Grandfather would have given him the back of his hand if he had known, but his health had slowly deteriorated and he was bed ridden more often than not. The mining facility had little impact on his hometown; the few workers were from off world and the facility was quiet with the exception of the daily transport run.

The routine all changed for Victor, as fate (or was it destiny?) had other plans for him. Victor was running the trail his feet had worn in after months of use that led to his lookout. He was running late today, his teacher had kept him after for not paying attention in class. In his mind, Victor had no reason to pay attention to the coursework. It was all too easy, and daydreams of huge engagements preoccupied his thoughts. Regions like Pure Blind, Tribute, and Deklein played across his mind.

As he neared his spot he could hear the thundering in the distance as the transport began its descent. He was going to miss the landing! His heart pounded as he frantically scrambled to get into position. The thundering slowly turned to a roar. It was so close! Victor turned his gaze upwards to see the giant ship as it neared. He didn't see the fallen tree that crossed his small trail, entranced by the flashing lights of the transport instead. His right foot caught the tree squarely, and it sent him flying. His body stumbled and fell, his momentum carrying him off the path and down the hill. He tumbled, out of control, as various branches, rocks and bushes cut and bruised his body. He finally came to rest, yards from the fence around the facility. His vision faded in and out, his body burning and aching. He tried to move, but instead he screamed as the pain in his back sent white hot shards of pain through his body. The throbbing in his ears grew louder and louder, in time with the pain pulsating through his back. As he lay immobilized, his vision slowly turned red. The last thing he heard was voices and pounding footsteps before his vision turned black.

Victor woke up to an unfamiliar setting. He laid on a bed in a sterile gray room. The wall to his left was covered with instruements and monitors. The bed to his right was empty except for his clothing, which was tattered and splotched with blood. He was wearing a grey and black jumpsuit that was a little large for him, and made of an unfamiliar fabric.

Victor sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

"Son, you are lucky to be alive" an unfamiliar voice boomed from the doorway. Startled, Victor looked up to see two men glide into the room. One wore the same jumpsuit he did, and had calloused hands and grey hair. The other wore a black outfit that seemed to mold to his body, and had a piercing gaze that bored right into Victor.

"You're back was broken and you were bleeding something awful, but our medical bots were able to fix ya up good as new," said the grey haired man. He offered a hand to Victor, helping him to his feet.

"Names Ray, I run this mining site. This hear is Thorgon, he runs the transport ship," offered Ray. Victor's eyes darted from Ray to Thorgon, who only offered a short nod.

"Mind telling me what brings you out this direction?" asked Ray.

"I-I-I-I..." stammered Victor. "I watch the ships come and go" he finally managed the words.

Ray let out a deep chuckle, and Thorgon's face curled, ever so slightly, into a smile.

"So you like the ships, eh?" boomed Ray. Victor nodded his head.

"Well you should be more careful running along them cliffs. Next time you may not be so lucky." Ray motioned towards the door. "Lets get you home before your folks get worried".

Victor cautiously walked into the hall with Ray close behind. The hallway was walled with plexiglass, offering a spectacular view outside. The transport vessel was even larger than he imagined, bots below scurrying hither and thither with canisters and crates. From the countless days of watching from afar he could tell the transport was about to leave.

"Would you like a ride?" said a deep voice from behind him. Victor quickly turned to see Thorgon looking down at him.

"A r-r-ride?" Victor responded, hesitation evident in his voice.

"Yes. I make the run to our command and control facility in less than an hour, from there you can see many more ships. I can bring you back later this evening in a shuttle," Thorgon continued.

Victors eyes grew wide with realization. "Yes!!" he almost shouted.

"Follow me then" said Thorgon. Victor followed him through the facility to the crosswalk that led to the transport. He couldn't help but notice the metallic gleam from the back of  Thorgons head. He had seen pictures, movies and read numerous books about the pattern he now saw. The mark of a Capsuleer! Once inside, Thorgon escorted him to an obervation room, with chairs and a massive obervation window.

"From here you should have a good view," Thorgon commented. "I have to control the ship from elsewhere, but I think you'll be fine." Victor nodded, and Thorgon left the room. Victor turned his attention to the fantastic view laid out before him.

Within a few minutes the ship thrummed as engines fired up. Slowly the ship lifted off the ground, the facility growing smaller. As forward momentum took over, the transport moved over the small mountain peaks Victor had played on all his life. He could even pick out the small spot he had watched from, so far below. His town flashed by as the transport picked up speed, chasing the setting sun westward. As it had done two years before, the world for Victor changed once again. Even the smack his Grandfather was sure to give him once he got home couldn't change destiny.

The Present...

Victor's face pressed against the plexiglass as the Merlin class frigate entered the atmosphere of home... another run, another 10,000 ISK in his pocket. He was getting good at everything spaceships, but inside he was never quite satisfied. The spaceport of Kiskonen appeared on the horizon and grew closer, lights glowing in the dusk.

A memory of the past surfaced in his mind. The memory was that of the first night he saw the spaceport on his home planet of Kiskonen, thanks to Thorgon. It made the daily transport run boring in comparison. He had been amazed at all the different vessels there, coming and going. But now the spaceport seemed so small and insignificant.

After hundreds of visits around his world, Thorgon was transferred to the Border Zone to take command of a military vessel. It was then that Victor started taking trips on ships operating between various planets in his system. His mother was too busy too notice, his grandfather was completely immobile. Victor watched, learned and took odd jobs on various ships. Every once and awhile Victor would get a message from Thorgon, but they were few and far between. His skills grew at amazing speeds as he soaked up all the knowledge he could. His eyes never strayed far from the stars, even whilst among them.

Shortly after turning seventeen, Victor was disembarking the small frigate on Kiskonen when a hard looking man in a nondescript military uniform approached him. His eyes were a dull blue, his face an emotionless mask. The setting sun cast a shadow over his face.

"Whats your name, boy?" the man asked in a gravelly voice.

"Victor, sir." Victor responded, staring straight at the man. Years of life experience had drained away the timidness that he once had.

"My name is Major Lawrence. I was told I could find you here by a Capsuleer named Thorgon. I've been working with him for the past year. He recommended you as a candidate."

"A candidate for what?" Victor inquired.

"To roam the the stars as a Capsuleer. Should you pass testing, you will bypass normal training and be placed under my command for Special Operations..." Lawrence paused for a moment before continuing
"Are you interested?"

Victors heart skipped a beat as his mind raced.

"Yes sir."

"Good. Sort yourself and meet me in one hour," Major Lawrence pointed across the tarmac to a vessel Victor immediately recognized as a Falcon Class Recon "in front of the my ship. Don't be late."

Victor nodded his understanding and the Major crisply turned and headed towards his ship. Victor felt like he was dreaming as he ran to his small storage locker in the spaceport hub. He emptied the contents into his duffel bag, which didn't take long. He stopped on his way out at a comms unit, and left a short message to deliver his farewells for his Grandfather and Mother. He left them with a simple message detailing his absense for an unknown period of time. All was well, he told them, and would be in touch when he could.

Without further delay he raced through the spaceport to the proper terminal and walked out onto the spaceport tarmac. The sun had almost set now, and he raced through the various ships to the Falcon. As if on cue, a boarding ramp dropped as he approached. At the top of the ramp was the silhouette of the Major, waiting for him. Victor marched up the ramp into the Falcon, the ramp closing behind him.

He followed the Major to the command center of the Falcon. The command crew worked silently as they passed. Victor took a seat to the side out of the way, taking it all in. After a minute he looked over at the Major, who had been watching Victor.

"You can wait here," Major Lawrence said. "The crewmembers will get you what you need during our journey." With that he turned and departed, presumably to take up residence in his Pod.

Within a minute the Falcon came to life, almost silent in its operation. The starport dissapeared below them and the firey orange sky soon gave way to the now familiar blackness of space. The view shimmered as the Falcon's cloak engaged, and the Recon ship aligned for warp. Victor didn't look back at his planet; instead his gaze ascended to the stars as the warp drive engaged.

Tyrannis: Ascension
By Perseus Kallistratos

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